You can't keep education out of web awards it seems and this year's New Statesman New Media Awards were no exception. The winner of Best Primary School ICT Project, Hangleton Community Junior School's weblogs site, has proved incredibly popular since it started at the beginning of 2004. Created by pupils and teachers, these "blogs" (short for weblogs, which are online diaries) provide a stage for sharing information about a variety of subjects. Pupils of all ages have created their own pages containing images, simple animation and hyperlinks with the added incentive of knowing that their work is available to an infinite number of internet-users. To be one of them, go to www.hangletonweblogs.org For an annual fee of pound;200, ICT4Schools provides, a domain name, and full technical support to schools wanting to set up their own weblogs site.
For a free trial service, go to www.ict4schools.info Alternatively, a free blogging service can be obtained at www.blogger.comstart Best Secondary School ICT Project was won by Fred Longworth High School for its passion for Open Source software. In its relative infancy, Open Source is still a minority product but this school is showing just what can be done with it (www.opensource.org). Some pages of the school's site are still under construction but it's worth checking out: www.flhs.org.uk Commended in this category, the website for Watling View School, a secondary for children with severe learning difficulties in St Albans, shows some great examples of writing with symbols. Pages displaying children's work give parents the chance to view their progress online. The pupils from Senior 4 have also created their own site, The Boys' Factory, where they add their own contributions. "Coming soon" is the greeting you'll receive on a number of pages but it's good to know they're thinking about it!
www.watlingview.herts.sch.uk Another New Statesman winner this year (of the "Innovation Award") was Browsealoud. This downloadable software (for Windows PCs) enables website users to hear the text displayed on the internet rather than having to read it. A breakthrough for dyslexia and other special needs sufferers, it has already been signed up by many prominent sites including Google, BBCi and Yahoo! The added bonus to this site is that it is free to download because the information service providers pay an annual fee to speech-enable their site. To download, visit www.browsealoud.com